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Books, Journals, New Media
July 10, 2002

History, Immunology: Paul Ehrlich's Receptor Immunology: The Magnificent Obsession

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2002;288(2):250-251. doi:10.1001/jama.288.2.250-JBK0710-2-1

This slim volume presents an excellent history of the seminal work of Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915), giving us insight into the man and describing science as practiced in the latter part of the 19th century.

Becoming an expert is relatively easy today. One can become a molecular biologist with purchase of the appropriate kit. The materials and methods sections of most current articles provide shopping lists of kits used to obtain the data. But in Ehrlich's era, it was necessary to prepare one's own reagents, devise the analytical scheme, and integrate the results, all of which he was able to accomplish. Ehrlich was trained in clinical medicine but emerged as a prime experimentalist in immunology, hematology, and chemotherapy. He has been regarded as a founding father of immunology. His work earned him the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908, which he shared with Metchnikoff.